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Lionel Messi’s masterclass gives Barcelona resounding win over Lyon

Paris Saint-Germain fell, Real Madrid fell, Atlético Madrid fell, but Barcelona did not. This time there was no surprise, not even really for Olympique Lyonnais, who saw Lionel Messi coming, again and again, just as they had imagined they might, but could not stop him. Bruno Génésio had talked about limiting Messi’s influence but by the time the final whistle went the Argentinian had scored two and made two, for Ousmane Dembélé and Gerard Piqué, while Luis Suárez made another for Philippe Coutinho. 5-1 the scoreboard said, so it was perhaps strange to reflect that briefly there had been nerves here. Lyon momentarily made a match of this, but there is no match for the Argentinian and ultimately Barcelona eased into the quarter-finals.

The pattern had been set early, Lionel Messi and Phillippe Coutinho combining but unable to reach Suárez after two minutes. A minute later, the same three men came together again. That time, Anthony Lopes to push away Messi’s shot; the next, Ivan Rakitic had his shot blocked. And although Tanguy Ndombélé’s effort skidded just past the post three minutes later, Barcelona were swiftly on top, the passing swift and accurate, the pressure applied high.

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